Fauria Being Out Sucks More Than You Think

Unimaginative play-calling, repeat plays, what happened to the Weis we knew in 2005?  Those were all things said/thought last year when ND’s offense (despite awesome awesome awesome 50 yard passes deep to Tate/Floyd plays left and right) seemed a bit vanilla at times.

And BGS did an analysis on what drove a lot of that vanilla-ness, and frankly I can never top that (and why would I try – it answers the question beautifully).  The answer?  Well, no TE’s.  Okay, not none.  One awesomely talented Frosh, and a fill-in Olineman, and for a few minutes Joe Fauria.  That’s what we had at Tight End last year.  Despite becoming TE U in terms of recruiting, we had 1.5 (Fauria was the half) last year, and both were true Freshmen.    Ragone was out hurt, Yeatman was out drinking, and so that left Rudolph and Fauria.  Rudolph, despite being a TRUE frosh, was somewhat ready.  Fauria really wasn’t.  So what does that leave as options?  1 TE and 2 TE sets, with the 2nd either being an unready Fauria or a fill-in like Trevor Robinson.  And that GREATLY limited Weis’ offense.   His pro style offense depends on, and thrives from, inclusion of 2 and even 3 TE sets, giving the coach calling the plays and the QB lots of options to pick apart a defense.  Take away the TEs and those options get more and more limited.  Easier to predict and to defend against.

Going into this year, we looked good to go with Rudolph, Ragone and Fauria all returning and 2 incoming Frosh to provide a little depth.   3 TE sets weren’t going to be the norm, but they were possible.  2 TE sets?  No problem.   Now with Fauria gone for the season, we lose some of that flexibility, and depth becomes a concern.  Golic and Eifert are fine recruits, but they’re not close to being as ready as Rudolph was last year, so depending on them to jump right into the mix just isn’t all that realistic.  And that means we’re one injury away from having an offense that’s hamstringed with a single reliable TE, much like last year.

Silver lining?  Bobby “I ain’t at home eating a cheese” Burger.  If this walk-on can really push for minutes, and can contribute in a quality way, we will see a lot less of a dropoff with Fauria’s (hopefully temporary) departure.

But yeah, Fauria being out sucks.  At the least, he’s planning to come back ala Gray and Walls. 

“I’m just taking it in stride,” Fauria told the Tribune on Wednesday night. “The plan is to come back.”

Joe, we look forward to welcoming you back brother.  Hopefully Burger and Ragone can pick up the slack in the mean time, and help bring ND’s offensive flexibility/creativity back for ’09.

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  • san diego irish

    Charlie didn’t seem at all interested in moving Kamara to TE, but I think it’s worth considering. He is supposed to be a good blocker, and he certainly has a sturdy enough frame. I also think it would be good for his NFL prospects where he would be a fast TE rather than an average or slow wide out or flanker. He seems to me to be on a Mo Stovall trajectory where he has a very solid college career, but struggles to break through in the league. If he is clearly the best 3rd option behind Tate and Floyd than maybe it makes less sense. But if he is no better or even falls behind Walker, Goodman, and Shaq it might be a good option to have for 3 TE sets.

  • FightingSonofNotreDame

    Good point san diego irish, first time I heard that. That could work well but I have little confidence in Kumara’s ability to adjust to a new scheme but maybe I’m unfairly basing that off of his horrendous learning curve Freshman year.

    And is it just me or is anyone else sick of hearing about this “out for personal reasons” BS? Just show up and play. Do other programs have this happen as often as we do?

  • http://www.yourmother.com The Biscuit

    FightingSon…no, other programs dont. And that’s mostly because most programs let students get away with anything. they sweep it under the rug, suspend the kid for 2 games against patsy teams, and then get them back in the starting lineup. ND may be (is) over-vigilent, but I’d rather have strict rules than none and retain some integrity. The good thing is that the majority as of late have made it back, and then will graduate. Walls and Gray did it right. Hoping Joe does too.

  • http://www.yourmother.com The Biscuit

    vigilant. ugh.

  • tjak

    What could Fauria possibly have done to merit an enitire semester out of ND, be in possession of a gun while getting into a fight outside of a nightclub. No, wait that is something that happens at Florida. Not knowing the circumstances, I would expect it would have to be a pretty serious breach for not coming back till the fall.

  • tjak

    “entire” semester….sorry.

  • san diego irish

    Biscuit–ND has been pretty successful at keeping the details of these discipline issues out of the press. Do you think that Charlie and/or the administration mandate silence on the issue? It’s pretty hard to keep info from getting out in the press but on Walls, Gray, and now Fauria, they have kept it pretty quiet other than general remarks.

  • http://www.yourmother.com The Biscuit

    That’s the ND machine at work SD. Things are dealt with internally, unless the police need to be brought in. If it warranted a police investigation, it would get out for sure.

    They keep it in the family if they can, to protect the kid and the kid’s family if possible. If it was a UF-ish AK-47 incident though, it’d be all over the papers. The school couldnt, and wouldnt, keep that under wraps. It’s a well-oiled machine, and the family sticks together, that’s for sure.

  • trey

    Ragone will be a monster. I LOOOOVE the thought of that guy wreaking havoc on Michigan(sucks!) DBs. Try to tackle THAT, wafer thin skunkbear LB!

  • BJDomer

    Ragone, despite seeing little of the field thusfar, is my favorite Irish player. He’s followed closely by Tate, Floyd, Rudolph, Allen, and Aldridge. Not sure if you can tell, but I really like offense.

    Digression aside, I really hope that Ragone can shake off the injury and take on a bigger role, now that Fauria is gone. If he is healthy, I think he is one of our best offensive threats, both blocking and receiving.

  • FightingSonofNotreDame

    Biscuit – Yeah good point. I guess I never know if it’s disciplinary kept quiet (which is the right way to handle that) or some voluntary issues the kid has. Is it definitely disciplinary or is that just speculation on our part? It doesn’t sting as much this year now that we have some depth but we still need all the resources we can get on standby.

    Forgive my ignorance but does Fauria gain a year of eligibility by sitting out the semester?

  • http://hls.com The Biscuit

    I’m not sure, and it’s all speculation floating around. No one knows if it’s disciplinary or if the kid has something going on. As Domer said, we prefer not to guess, just hope that he works it out and makes it back.

    He’ll preserve a year of eligibility by sitting out, so it’s almost like he red-shirted last year…so that’s another silver-lining-ish type thing.

  • Craig

    Well, I think we got our answer about whether it’s disciplinary or if the kid had something going on.

    Without any knowledge of the situation, I’ll reserve comment. If the KMac situation didn’t change anything, I highly doubt this will either.

  • domer.mq

    Oh, the rumors we’re hearing make this far, far dumber than the KMac thing, Craig. Don’t worry, I’m sure everyone will hear them soon enough.

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